Bicycle motocross, or BMX, has been around since disco and bell bottoms. Jumping, racing and pulling BMX stunts is the type of crazy that never truly dies. Designed for tough track riding, BMX bikes excel on dirt, vert, park, street and flatland. Classic BMX bikes have low saddles, chunky tires, durable metal frames and high straight handlebars. On the flip side, there are several BMX variations, with some tailored for urban skills or heavy-duty jumps, for example. As with any bike purchase, you need to do some research and choose a bike that’s comfortable to ride. From racing on dirt tracks to skateparks to performing flatland tricks, you’ll first need to determine which style of BMX riding best suits your interests.
Types of BMX Bikes
- BMX – This is a dirt ready race bike with knobby tires, a lightweight frame and parts, and a strong rear brake. It’s best for dirt-track racing, going fast off road and for short distances.
- Freestyle – A super-sturdy stunt and trick bike, Freestyle BMX bikes have an ultra-beefy frame and wheels, pavement-ready tires, cable-detangling headset and axle pegs. Take this bad boy to skateparks. It’s perfect for learning and performing stunts and tricks.
- Jump – Sometimes called a Dirt Jumper, these are essentially a fusion of BMX and freestyle bikes. They’re similar to a classic BMX bike, but less aggressive. Jump bikes have a sturdy frame and wheels, rear brake, and knobby tires. They’re ideal for carving local trails, jumping ramps and thrashing your friend’s back yard.
- Mini – Four to six year olds are a perfect fit for this tiny BMX bike. It has a low standover height, 155-mm cranks, 20 x 1 1/8″ tires.
- Junior – Designed for seven to nine year olds, Junior BMX bikes have a slightly larger frame than Mini, 165-mm cranks and 20 x 1 3/8″ tires.
- Expert – Nine to 13 year olds should rock an expert bike. It has a longer top tube than Junior, 170-mm cranks, 20 x 1.5-1.75″ tires.
- Pro – Riders 12 and up are ready for a Pro BMX bike. They come standard with a “full-size” frame, 175-180-mm cranks, 20 x 1.75-2.2″ tires.
We’re nearly there! If cost isn’t an issue, choose an aluminum frame for a lightweight bike for racing. Younger children may also find aluminum frames lighter and easier to handle. Let’s not forget the wheels! If you plan to race, remember that racing BMX wheels tend to be lightweight, with 32 spokes, according to the Cool Biking Zone website. However, for urban tricks, you’ll need a more solid wheel with either 48 spokes or a thicker mag-style design.